New data on orthorexia, an eating disorder
Orthorexia is an eating disorder characterized by a special concern of people who suffer from it for healthy eating, a concern that can reach undesirable extremes. It is not a bad thing to worry about what we eat, but these people suffer from problems of anxiety and depression when they do what they consider "food transgressions", also affecting their social life, since they rarely eat outside the home.
A recent study by the Institute of Food Sciences of the University of Rome "La Sapienza", in Italy, published in the specialized journal "Appetite", shows that the prevalence (percentage of affected in the population) reaches more than 6%, which is a worrying fact. Not being a serious health problem, people affected by this ailment suffer from anxiety and depression problems, apart from having abnormal social relationships due to having great impediments to eating outside the home or in restaurants .
When the obsession with healthy eating is taken to the extreme, there comes a point where everything revolves around food; Controlling what they eat, imposing prohibitions and planning meals in detail becomes a priority in order to feel safe, calm and in control of each situation. This healthy eating disorder has much in common with the increasingly common anorexia and bulimia. Adolescents, women and athletes are the groups at greatest risk, derived from the excessive concern for the cult of the body, which fashion and today's society are imposing in an underground way through advertising, cinema, television and magazines.
These food manias, which cause many foods to be rejected for being considered unhealthy, can lead in extreme cases to malnutrition, anemia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as a high risk of infections due to decreased defenses, apart from disorders in social and personal life. These people lead a lonely life, focused on their control of everything they eat, isolated from their friends and family, acquiring an irritable and bitter character due to this isolation.
Early detection, by means of the ORTO-15 questionnaire prepared by the scientific authors of the aforementioned study, allows the application of therapies for the restructuring of eating and social habits, gradually, which allow correcting these eating abnormalities in most cases.
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